This comfort food is great by itself or transformed into Broccoli Cheddar Mac n' Cheese!
Broccoli & Cheddar Mac & Cheese
- 1 head of broccoli (cut into small pieces - including stalk)
- 1/2 pound bacon (diced)
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 1/2 pounds white cheddar cheese (shredded; divided)
- chili flakes (to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 pound whole wheat fusilli
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook broccoli for 2 minutes then strain and place into an ice bath for 1 minute to cool. Drain and set aside. If making mac n' cheese version cook pasta in the same pot 1 minute short of the package instructions, drain and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over low heat to render and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve for garnish.
- Turn heat up to medium and add onions, seasoning lightly. Cook until softened then stir in garlic. Once garlic is fragrant sprinkle in the flour and whisk to incorporate.
- Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes or until flour is golden. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock & simmer for 5 minutes, adjusting seasoning and chili flake to taste. Add in 2/3 of the blanched broccoli. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth.
- Stir in the heavy cream and remove from heat. Add 2/3 of the cheese and stir until melted. Add the remaining broccoli.
- Serve warm garnished with crispy bacon.
- To create a Broccoli Cheddar Mac n' Cheese, preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, stir together panko bread crumbs, crispy bacon, parmesan cheese, chili flakes (optional), salt & pepper to taste.
- Return 5 cups of soup to the heat, add remaining cheese and stir just until melted. Put the cooked pasta noodles into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over top. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the dish and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.